Will - 2011 Graduate Program


  • University of Sydney


  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours) English Literature, History


I am originally from the suburbs of Sydney.  After leaving school, I arrived at Sydney University, where I threw myself into student punditry, editing newspapers and poetry journals. I also found time to complete a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Modern History, subsequently undertaking honours in early-modern Italian history.

I joined the Department directly after university, with the desire to expand my skills and knowledge base in the public’s service. Seeking a challenging and relevant avenue at the outset of my career, I brought my focus upon sustainability and protection of the Australian environment. I am seeking a challenging career in public policy, reflecting my interest in Australian affairs and my skills in strategic thinking, research, analysis, and communication.


First Placement: Ecosystems and Climate Change Section, Australian Government Land and Coasts

The Ecosystems and Climate Change Section has responsibility for a range of issues relating to the intersection of forests, plantations, biodiversity and climate change policies.

I joined the section in the midst of the negotiations surrounding the Tasmanian Forests Statement of Principles, which allowed me to be actively involved in the complexities of stakeholder management in a sensitive policy environment. I confidently approached the ministerial correspondence and Question Time briefs relating to the Statement of Principles process, quickly becoming familiar with the communication style of the APS.

Other major work completed in the rotation included undertaking critical analysis and editing recommendations for external consultant reports and completing a well-received research and issues paper on the implications of biodiverse forestry plantations in Tasmania on biodiversity, the forestry industry and Tasmanian communities. Part of the paper explored the relationship between plantation forestry and the Carbon Farming Initiative, anticipating forward issues in the implementation of the CFI.

My work with Ecosystems and Climate Change was a challenging introduction to the Department, teaching me the importance of maintaining a critical eye and keeping abreast of issues in a fast-paced policy environment.

Second Placement: Economics and Strategic Polic, Policy and Communications Division

The Economics and Strategic Policy Section provides coordination, secretariat, planning/reporting functions and strategic policy advice for the Department. My major project during my second placement was furthering the draft DSEWPaC Climate Change Adaptation Policy to another round of departmental consultation. I updated the draft policy's risk management strategy, illustrating risk management and the policy's 'operating principles' through case studies that I sourced from across the Department.

Other major work in the section included assisting in coordinating and drafting the brief for the Minister's new Chief of Staff, and contributing sections and editing to the departmental submission for the House of Representatives Inquiry entitled 'Biodiversity in a Changing Climate'.

My placement in the Economics and Strategic Policy Section afforded me the opportunity to work across wide-ranging projects. I assisted the Bureau of Meteorology Review Taskforce by providing summary papers on previous reviews to Senator Farrell. I also undertook secretariat work for the Departmental Management Board and Portfolio Business Meetings, attending these meetings as a minute-taker and departmental representative.

During my second placement, I took the lead on the risk management strategy for the Tasmanian Graduate Field Trip. I also took the responsibility of coordinating the project's finalisation report.

Third Placement: WELS Policy Section, Water Governance Division

My final placement in the WELS Policy Section found me assisting in the process of legislative amendments to the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act (2005). The WELS Act is a cooperative legislative arrangement with states and territories that requires registration and labelling of specified products to show their water efficiency and adherence to minimum water efficiency standards.

Following on the recommendations of the 2010 Guest Review, the WELS Policy Section is responsible for improving the Scheme through a suite of legislative and regulatory amendments.
I assisted in the process of finalising the WELS Determination 2011, liaising with external agencies for the legislative approval and drafting process, and will shortly take the lead on preparing drafting instructions for amendments to the WELS Regulations.

Final Placement – Policy Integration & Analysis Section, Sustainability Policy & Analysis Division

The Policy Integration & Analysis Section forms part of the newly-created Sustainability Policy & Analysis Division. We are currently engaged in the development and implementation of sustainability initiatives across the department, with much more to come.

'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'